Coral compound fights neuropathic pain

PilarMeca [creativecommons license] via Wikimedia Commons

Neuropathic pain is chronic pain that can arise from nerve damage resulting from inflammation in the central nervous system (CNS). People worldwide suffer from neuropathic pain, which can include hyperalgesia (heightened pain sensation, such that mildly uncomfortable stimuli are perceived as severely painful) and allodynia (‘misplaced’ pain, such that nonpainful stimuli are perceived as painful). The few available treatments for neuropathic pain are relatively ineffective and have potentially dangerous side effects; safe, effective options are badly needed. Zhi-Hong Wen, Yen-Hsuan Jean and colleagues (Department of Marine Biotechnology and Resources, National Sun Yat-Sen University, Taiwan) may be close to providing one. They have discovered that a compound called capnellene (named after the soft coral from which it is isolated, Capnella imbricata) has pain-relieving effects in a rat model of neuropathic pain.

Lab Anim. (NY) 38, 280 (2009).
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